Watchlist: ‘Native Americans victimized by massive insurance scheme in Arizona’

12.14.2023 Kamiah Koch Watchlist


By Kamiah Koch

Social media/digital journalist

The Grand Ronde Tribe just held its first Missing and Murdered Indigenous People Awareness Dinner on Friday, Dec. 1. This event was hosted by the Tribal medication-assisted treatment facility, Great Circle Recovery.

Great Circle Recovery Operations Director Jennifer Worth has spoken with Smoke Signals about how drug addiction often intersects with cases of missing Indigenous people. 

This has become more apparent in an NBC News investigative report based in Arizona. According to the segment published on Saturday, Dec. 9, Tribal members were lured to treatment centers in Arizona as a larger Medicaid scam.  

“State officials alleged the providers of these homes made millions off fraudulent Medicaid claims, billing for services not given as well as for people who were in prison or had even died,” NBC Correspondent Liz Kreutz said.

These centers were advertised as sobriety homes that were supposed to help Tribal people. Instead the vulnerable Native people were preyed upon.

Native Americans from states including Arizona, South Dakota, Montana and Alaska were lured from their reservations and taken hundreds of miles away with the assurance of treatment.

One of the victims, Raquel Moody, gave an interview about her experience in one of the alleged sober homes.

“She says over the course of six months she was shuffled between 10 homes,” Kreutz said. “She says she was moved every time she questioned the quality of care.”

The video shows images of Native people who were supposed to be receiving treatment for their addictions passed out on the ground from drug use and open alcohol containers found inside the homes.

The NBC investigators found an Apache Tribal member wandering the streets in Arizona after leaving a sober home 100 miles from where he was picked up.

When the centers relocate Tribal people and fail to offer them the promised treatment, it puts them in even more danger.

You can watch the entire NBC video at